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Letters to "Springfield Republican? 227
It would be unfair to take the market ratio for our government now while one of the precious metals is demonetized. But if a reasonable future date were fixed when both metals should be admitted to free coinage at the then market ratio, no wrong would be done to any just interest. Massachusetts used to be proud of being called the silver colony, and strict bullionist views have been held by many of the most enlightened citizens of this commonwealth since it became a State in the Union.
If we will now take the only real sound-money ground—opposition to all credit money,—and patiently and fairly contend for this great principle, that " money must be an equivalent as well as a measure," and that nothing should be money that does not honestly represent labor, the East may yet lead in carrying the country for this great reform of the currency as the East has led in other reform movements.
While most of my interests are in the East, I have interests in the West, and go there every year, and I think I know something of the real feeling there. It is that the East has been more prosperous than the West, and that in so far as this inequality springs from adroit legislation in our favor they intend to have this changed, so that opportunities, so far as law is concerned, shall be made equal, that the government shall not give advantages to manufacturers and bankers that it does not give to farmers and miners. As I have long pointed out, we are in danger of silver monometallism because we would not listen to reasonable complaints. The East has pushed the pendulum so unfairly toward gold monometallism that it has swung too far the other way.
Let us now do what we can to promote a campaign of education. Let us have a fair debate between the two champions, McKinley and Bryan. They are both thoroughly reputable men, while both the party platforms are faulty. I cannot vote for McKinley for I am opposed to monopoly, but I would claim for him a respectful hearing. Bryan is accused of being young. He may outgrow this fault. Some of us would like to have half his complaint.
Anson Phelps Stokes.
Lenox, July 6, 1896.
AFTER THE ELECTION, WHAT?
To the Editor of the "New York Times ":
Whatever the result, we will still have a goodly heritage in the rich land and free institutions of an honest people devoted to the Union and with much real mutual respect between the different sections which are now ignorantly abusing each other.
But the success of either party in the present election will not bring prosperity. If either of the platforms be enacted into law, the industries and business of the people must continue to suffer so long as either gold or silver monometallism is maintained and until we come to use both the precious metals jointly and at about their relative market values, to be regulated when our mints shall be open to both.
The total quantities of gold money and of silver money in the world have been for many years of about equal value at the coinage ratio of about iSi to i.
Thus the last report of the Treasury Department, July i, 1896, estimates in the approximate stocks of money in the principal countries of the world: Gold, $4,068,800,000 ; silver, $4,070,500,000. Adding these together, we get a total of, say, $8,000,000,000 as the world's stock of real money.
But if the value of the silver money be reduced to the present market ratio of the metals, the value of the silver money in the world would be reduced from, say, $4,000,000,000 to §2,000,000,000, and the value of the world's stock of real money would be reduced from $8,000,000,000 to §6,000,000,000. This gives some idea of the shock which the monetary affairs of the world have received from the demonetization and further threatened demonetization of silver.
Even supposing that the population and trade of the world should cease to increase, and that the present production of gold and silver should be maintained, and that all of it should be coined, it would require seven years to make up this difference of §2,000,000,000.
The population, however, must increase, and much of the present production of gold is speculative, from mines that sell shares but cannot earn dividends, and a large portion of the product of the precious metals will continue to be used in the arts, so that many times seven years would be required to make up the difference, which can be made up promptly only by the larger coinage use of silver, by which use its market value would be advanced.
It is unfortunate that neither of the great parties in our country has declared for real honest hard money and against all credit money, and it is important that the people should understand this question and know what hurts them when they After the Election, What? 231
find that the proposed Democratic or Republican panacea fails to give relief.
I am opposed to the coinage of silver at 16 to 1. I am opposed to it, not because I believe in gold monometallism. I am equally opposed to that. I believe there is a solution of this whole difficulty which reasonable men in time may come to; and that is the free coinage, on substantially equal terms, of both gold and silver, in quantities of equal value, at the ratio of their market values. This would work no injury to any just interest.
I would have the silver in new silver standard coins to be equal in weight to the gold in the gold standard coins; and I would open the mint to the free coinage of both gold and silver when presented together in quantities of equal value of each metal, according to the government ratio of the time, which should be based always on the market ratio, and changed only when the market ratio changed as much as one integer, e. g., from, say, 25 to 1 to 24 to 1, or from 29 to 1 to 30 to 1. The true economic ratio would thus soon be arrived at, and would very seldom change; and any change would not make recoinage necessary.
I would have a currency so based, halt on gold and half on silver, legal tender for the payments of debts contracted after a date some months later than the passage of the act.
The Constitution empowers Congress "to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and meas